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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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86                                            TEE NARI-SEHBI FAIB.
their master knew that Krishna would at once follow to recover his foster-father,
and thus, the depths of ocean, too, no less than earth, wonld be gladdened with
the vision of the Incarnate deity. The adjoining village of Bhay-ganw derives
its name from the 'terror' (b/iai/) that ensued on the news of Panda's disappear-
ance. The pilgrims next pass thron^h Bachh-ban, where the demon Bach-
biisiir -was slain; the two villages of Basal, where the Gopis were first 'subdued'
(ba$~di) by the power of love ; Atas, Nari-semri,* Chhatikra, and Akrur, where
Kansa's perfidious invitation to the contest of arms was received; and wend
their way beneath the temple of Bhatrond, where one day, when the boys5 stock
of provisions had run short, some Brahmans' wives supplied their wants, though
the husbands, to whom application was first made, had churlishly refused."}* So
* A large fair, called the Nau Bttrga, is held at the village of Nari-Semri during the dark
fortnight of Chait, the commencement of the Hindu year.   The same festival is also celebrated
at Sduchuuli la the Kosi pargana and at Nagar-Kot in Gur-gfow, though not on precisely the
same days.   The word Semri is & corruption oi Syamala-k:, with reference to the ancient shrine
of Deri, who has Syamala for one of her aamcs (compare shnika, * an ant-hill/ for syamka).
The present temple is a small modern building:, with. notMng at all noteworthy about it.   It
stands on the margin of a ifine large piece of -water, and in connection with it are two small
dkarmsdlas, lately built by pilgrims from Agra.   A much larger building for the same purpose
was commenced by a baniya before the mutiny, but the work was stopt by his death.   The offer-
ings ordinarily amount to at least Es. 2,000 a year, and are enjoyed in turn by three groups oi
shareholders, '*»3., the zamindars of1 Semri old villape, of Birja-ka-nagara and of Devi Sinh-ka-
nagara, to each of whom a turn comes erery third year.   They bad always spent the -whole of the
money on their own. private use^ but at my suggestion they all agreed to give an annual sum of
Bs. 150 to expend on conservancy during the fair time and on local improvements.   The first
work to have bten taken in hand YTJIB the completion of the banxya's rest-house.   I estimated the1
cost at KB. !S050 aa-.J had beg^in to collect bricks and stone and mot tar. when my transfer from
the district took place, and the project Immediately fell through.   If  the work bad once been
started, the pilgrims would have gladly contributed to it; and in addition to the dharmsdla, which
was of very substantial construction, so far as it had gone, there would soon have been a masonry
ghat to the pond and a plantation of trees round about the temple.  But Ditr aliter visvm e&L  The
principal fair begine on the new moon of Chaitand lasts for nine days. On the siTcth there is a very
large gathering at the rival shrine of the same goddess at Sanchauli; but during all the remain-
der of the time the Agra and Dclbi road is crowded day and night with foot passengers and veht-
cits of every description.   Fortunately none of the visitors for religions purposes stay more than
& fiw hours; and thus, though it is the most popular meii in the whole district, there is never
any very gnaz crowd at any one particular time, for as one set of people comes, another goes.
Special Jays arc e?en assigned to particular castes and localities; thus the Agra people have one
Jay, thu Jidotts of the neighijoorhood another* the Gauruas a third, and so on.   The second fair
m held on the Akh-tl|, the third day of the bright fortnight of Baistkli.
f To eamnsemarate the event* a Mr called the Bhatmcla is held on the spot on the foil
moon of KArtitc. Compare the story of D&Titl reptilied by the churlish N&fcal, but afterwards
•uecoorttt by hi» wile Abigail.